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Elon Musk Will Use Twitter To Update Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Playbook


Elon Musk Will Use Twitter To Update Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Playbook

If Elon Musk has his way, the effects on Twitter will end up being the least of our problems.

To get a sense of how bad this could get, it’s instructive to look at the parallels between Musk’s Twitter acquisition and the creation of Fox News.

When Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch started Fox News in the late 1990s, they envisioned the channel as a counterbalance to the rest of the supposedly liberal media, a cudgel to deploy against the news media to get coverage for manufactured controversies and right-wing misinformation.

Musk views Twitter in much the same way that Murdoch and Ailes saw Fox at its inception. To Musk, social media companies haven’t just gone too far in addressing extremism, bigotry, and disinformation – they shouldn’t be addressing these issues at all. Musk’s vision of Twitter isn’t simply as a platform free from constraints, but as an instrument to counterbalance the “woke” social-media platforms.

As Twitter’s new owner, Musk will open the floodgates of hate and lies by undoing a host of very basic protections against harassment, abuse and disinformation. There is a reason why banned users – ranging from Roger Stone and Marjorie Taylor Greene to QAnon and Infowars conspiracy theorists to white supremacists – are all celebrating this acquisition and gleefully anticipating the restoration of their accounts.

Musk will claim that these changes are driven by a commitment to free speech. But don’t be fooled: His actions are as much about free speech as Fox News was about being fair and balanced.

Fox’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan was actually a double entendre. At its inception, most interpreted it to mean that Fox News was presenting itself as a channel that would be fair and offer a balanced perspective.

“A laissez faire approach to disinformation at Musk’s Twitter will press other social media outlets to backslide on reforms they’ve already made.

But prospective Fox News viewers knew better. They recognized that it meant that Fox News would be “fair” in portraying conservatives in the best light and “balanced” in using misinformation, bluster, and…

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